BY ROMULUS HUTA
THE Honiara Football Association (HFA) gives a few days grace period until the end of this week for teams who are yet to submit their expression of interest for the pre-season qualifying competition for next year’s season.
HFA Administrator George Keso told SunSPORTS yesterday that only four clubs have come forward since the call made in October.
The clubs are Saints FC, Lauru United FC, Fiba FC and Wago FC.
“All four teams have already paid in their registration fees.
“We need atleast two more teams to come in before we can kick off with the pre-season qualifiers,” Keso stated.
The pre-season competition is the qualification pathway into the first division for next season.
HFA currently has 36 competing teams – 18 teams each for Premier and Division One, respectively.
Next season the Honiara governing football body plans to increase the number of teams to 40 for the 2019 League Season, maintaining 20 teams in Premier Division and the other 20 teams in Division One.
The two top teams in Division One this season will be promoted to Premier Division in 2019 to make it 20 teams.
Therefore, 4 top teams from the pre-season league will join HFA Division One in 2019 to maintain the total number of 20 teams.
“If no clubs come in by the end of this week, then no competition will be held and all four clubs will automatically join Division one for next season.
“We really don’t want this to happen. We want teams competing in the HFA league to go through the formal qualifying process before they can join Division One.
But in the event that only four teams have showed up, this is the next step that we will take and that is to give them ‘free ride’ into Division One for next season,” Keso explains.
Meanwhile, the 2018 HFA season was completed last month. Mars United was crowned the winner of the Premier Division while Division One was won by FC Islanders.